Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is it loss or gain?

It's been a hard year. We found out last Christmas that my Grandma had cancer. A very rare, hard to treat cancer that infected the soft tissues of the body. But we fought it, with chemo treatments. Unfortunately my Grandma passed away just two days before my 24th birthday. I considered her to be my biggest role model. And, if you will a soul mate. I believe that we are not so limited as to having just one soul mate, but we have many. Who build and structure us into the people we become. There's things that are unexplainable. Moments when we could look at each other and just know  how the other was feeling. It is as if someone has torn me in half and left the rest for the dogs to fight over. I miss her so much. Every day I wish to visit her at the home where my mother was raised. Smell the delicious foods she would constantly have baking for us. Go to the stores simply for something to do together. Plant flowers with her, or walk to her garden to see how the vegetables are growing. She taught me to cook [ a mean grilled cheese, and the best damn pancakes in the world ]. Led me to my career track, by simply sitting at the kitchen table and drawing with me for hours on end. Teaching me first and foremost, how to draw a rose. How to make home made glue and play dough. And countless other valuable lessons. I knew the moment she passed, though a few cities a way. I was taking a bath to try and calm myself after days of crying having heard she was reaching the end. I knew the second the life left her body and her soul released. I have never been so heartbroken in all my life.

Well, as bad as my heart has been broken, my Grandpa's was that much worse. Living in the home where his wife and he cared for their children, their grandchildren, and even a few great grandchildren was hard. The house had changed since she passed and as hard as we fought to make him happy and comfortable, there was always a nagging sense of loss in his eyes. On January 6th at around 8:00 am my mom and I awoke to pounding on the front door. My Grandpa stood with tears in his eyes collapsed over and unable to breathe. I sat with him for a few moments while my mother rushed to get dressed. I had never seen this man in a condition like this. He was so strong. Nothing could take down my Grandpa. My mom rushed him to the doctor who then sent him to St. Mary's hospital. He was diagnosed with pneumonia. After visiting him in the hospital for multiple days in a row, worry set in. Why had he been there so long? When would they take him off the oxygen mask. My mother began pressing the doctors for answers, and in the mean time we readied his house for his return. Scrubbing every inch, perhaps in an effort to keep him here with us as long as possible. We had looked forward to him coming home, I had made plans in my head to create some new furniture pieces and I knew he wouldn't have it any other way than for himself to help me construct the final pieces. I had wanted to take him to breakfast at the little shop down the street. I created a few little signs to hang in his room, reading "Get Well Soon" and " I love you Grandpa, Love Nina Bell" [ a nick name he had given me when I was just a small child]. He argued with us not to hang them on the wall, because he didn't want them to fall or be stolen but my mom insisted we hang them so he could see them. My younger brother had done an illustration on the nurses board for him as well. He had his lunch brought to him and insisted I played cards while he eat, and we joked about how he was going to get a razor to shave. Then my mom and I went on our way so he could get some rest and be ready for the next batch of visitors. On January 12th, 2011, at 5:00 a.m. my mother received a phone call. My Grandpa had taken a turn for the worse. It turns out that around 3:30 am he signaled for the nurse to come in the room. Complaining of chest pains, and collapsed into cardiac arrest. The doctors worked immediately on him, and for over an hour, reviving him twice. After he passed, my mother made it to the hospital. Telling the doctor what had happened just a few months earlier. The doctor told my mother "it was a broken heart" and that he sensed my Grandpa had moved on to see my Grandma while performing all the great acts of revival possible, using every drug in the cart. The doctor said "he fought to live, but he also wanted to move on".

I will always miss him, playing around the yard and house, starting new projects. Rebuilding things that didn't necessarily need to be rebuilt. Tinkering in the garage, and sitting in the lawn chairs in the back. I'll miss his silly noises he made when he did certain things, and how much he cared for us. I left a few boxes before my little New York adventure in the basement, and he had gone through them, to clean them for me and make sure they were organized. He threw away some things that had broken and repacked them for me. I returned from New York because after my Grandma's death I had an awful feeling come over me that that was not the end of loss in our family. Unfortunately it was true, multiple times.  In the past 9 months we have lost my Grandma, Grandpa, my "Aunt Diane" [my Grandma's sister in law], my mom's cousin Billy, and a few family friends.

They are in heaven now, if you will. Or wherever you might believe people move on to after life here. I like to believe it is a place beyond any ideas our lives here could ever give us. After reading many articles of people revived from death, I believe that their is so much more than we could ever hope for. From the articles that I've read I understand that family is who meets you at the next level of "life". I hope for nothing more.

My Grandparents are somewhere together, for what will be there 52nd wedding anniversary on monday. Neither of them missing one yet. Hopefully they are holding each other close, and watching over all of us now.


  1. I LOVE YOU MELISSA MAE : ) I still think you should write, it is beautiful. MOM

  2. Thank you Mom, not only for the comment, but for constantly making sure my grammar and spelling were correct throughout school and proof reading my work!